In many countries English is considered a second language, and it is generally the lingua franca of certain industries, including the life sciences. However, it should not be assumed that everyone who can benefit from scientific findings speaks English, or that all relevant findings are even being published in English.
Due to this, the translation of scientific texts becomes important to expand global scientific knowledge. That being said technical and scientific translation can be expensive, and some may try to find ways to cut costs which can lead to poor quality work and mistakes.
When Translating Scientific Texts Don’t:
- Handle the translation yourself unless you have prior experience translating.
- Rely on a non-professional linguist for the translation of scientific texts.
- Assume everyone you are trying to reach with your texts speaks English.
- Only rely on machine translation (such as Google Translate) for complicated and technical scientific language.
The first point is important, as bilingual researchers may take it upon themselves to translate their own texts. Even if you are fluent in multiple languages, scientific translation isn’t as straightforward as you might imagine.